Tag Archives: Old Testament

Ezekiel 25-27; Psalm 85; John 9

35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out. So Jesus found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36He asked, “Who is the Son of Man, sir? Tell me, so I can believe in him!”
37Jesus said to him, “You have already seen him. The Son of Man is the one talking with you now.”
38He said, “Yes, Lord, I believe!” Then the man bowed and worshiped Jesus.
39Jesus said, “I came into this world so that the world could be judged. I came so that the blind could see and so that those who see will become blind.” John 9:35-39 (ICB)

Since the beginning of time, the thing that God desires most is to be known by His creation. Throughout the Bible, every story talks about the ways He shows himself to people who will listen; and how He shows himself to the people who won’t.

He wants us to believe in Him, to know His name, to see His goodness and His power, to experience His mercy, grace, and love.

I think back in my own life about the ways that God has revealed Himself to me and realize that I probably don’t even truly recognize all of it. But I know that more than 10 years ago, He lifted the veil off of my eyes and I could see Him in a way I never had before.

The Old Testament is filled with stories of the wrathful, angry God. In Ezekiel, there is prophecy after prophecy of how God is going to destroy the nations who chose not to believe in Him and the people who chose to come against Him.

7So I will use my power against you. I will give you to the nations as if you were valuables taken in war. I will wipe you out of the lands so you will no longer be a nation. I will destroy you. And you will know that I am the Lord.’” Ezekiel 25:7 (ICB)

The key to the prophecies in Ezekiel is, “Then they will know that I am the Lord.

When the blindness has fallen away, when I choose to seek His face and seek to know Him, when I believe in the saving power of His Son, than His wrath falls away and His love reigns. His goodness is reflected to the world through my life.

9God will soon save those who respect him.
And his greatness will be seen in our land.
10Love and truth will belong to God’s people.
Goodness and peace will be theirs.
11On earth people will be loyal to God.
And God’s goodness will shine down from heaven.
12The Lord will give his goodness.
And the land will give its crops.
13Goodness will go before God
and prepare the way for him. Psalm 85:9-13 (ICB)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezekiel, John, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Jeremiah 47-49; Psalm 80; 2 Peter 2

17Help the man you have chosen.

Make this human being strong for your service.

18Then we will not turn away from you.

Give us life again, and we will call to you for help.

19Lord God of heaven’s armies, take us back.

Show us your kindness so we can be saved. Psalm 80:17-19

God desires me to serve Him. His command to me, above all else, is to love Him with all my heart and soul and mind. But, as hard as I try, I still fail miserably at times.

I believe that God offers second (and third, and fourth…) chances. Because He knows that I am not even close to being perfect, because He can see into my heart and understand everything that is there, He knows the intentions of my heart are to serve Him always.

9And so the Lord knows how to save those who serve him. He will save them when troubles come…2 Peter 2:9

Noah and Lot are examples of men in the Bible who were not perfect (I mean Lot offered his daughters to be raped by lustful men – yikes), but because of their desire to serve God and follow Him, He rescued them from devastation.

The Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites and other tribes were not so lucky. They had no love for God in their heart and served idols who called for death and destruction. Though they were given warnings, they did not turn away from their sin and they reaped what they sowed.

16But a donkey told Balaam that he was sinning. And the donkey is an animal that cannot talk. But the donkey spoke with a man’s voice and stopped the prophet’s crazy thinking. 2 Peter 2:16 

God won’t give up hope for those who turn away. He will constantly pursue anyone whose heart is blackened by sin by any means possible, from the natural consequences of a life lived with bad choices to words straight from a donkey’s mouth.

Just as I pursue my children in the midst of their bad choices, calling them back to obedience and cultivating a repentant heart, my Father in Heaven does the same for me. He gives me life and gives me strength. He shows me kindness that I don’t deserve and saves me from the enemy.

Yesappa, Thank You for being the God of many chances. Thank You for showing me kindness, grace, and mercy in the midst of my bad choices. Give me life where the enemy only wants death. Help me draw nearer to You in each moment to find strength to stand against sin; and give me life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Filed under 2 Peter, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Jeremiah 22, 23, 26; Psalm 77; James 2

14My brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does nothing, his faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save him? 15A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or might need food. 16And you say to him, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat.” You say this, but you do not give that person the things he needs. Unless you help him, your words are worth nothing. 17It is the same with faith. If faith does nothing, then that faith is dead, because it is alone.

18Someone might say, “You have faith, but I do things. Show me your faith! Your faith does nothing. I will show you my faith by the things I do.” 19You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too! And they shake with fear.

20You foolish person! Must you be shown that faith that does nothing is worth nothing? 21Abraham is our father. He was made right with God by the things he did. He offered his son Isaac to God on the altar. 22So you see that Abraham’s faith and the things he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did. 23This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” And Abraham was called “God’s friend.” 24So you see that a person is made right with God by the things he does. He cannot be made right by faith only.

25Another example is Rahab, who was a prostitute. But she was made right with God by something she did: She helped the spies for God’s people. She welcomed them into her home and helped them escape by a different road.

26A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith. Faith that does nothing is dead! James 2:14-26

One of my all-time favorite movies is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I like just about everything about that movie, including Harrison Ford’s handsome face 😉 .

One scene always stands out to me:  Indy is working his way through the cave to find the Holy Grail coming against tests to prove his worth. During one test, as he stares down into the abyss of the cavern, he realizes that he’s going to have to have faith to “leap” to the other side. He gathers his courage. He puts his foot out and leans forward, half expecting to fall to his death. As he begins to fall, his foot lands on an invisible bridge that stretches across the gap and he is able to walk across safely.

I often feel like this is how I live my life. So many chasms lay before me in this journey. When I have faith in God to be there every step of the way, I am able to stick my foot out and leap.

Indiana didn’t simply have faith and then walk away from the impossible. He took action. He did something. He put out his foot and started walking, knowing that it was quite possible it could lead to his death.

As James points out in his letter, both Abraham and Rahab had faith in the God of Israel, and they acted on it, being obedient to what God had instructed. They demonstrated their faith through their actions…and were blessed for it.

Faith doesn’t stop at believing that Christ died and rose again. Yes, that the first step, but faith is also about how I live my life, the outcome of the choices that I make, and the strong foundations that I strive to build in myself and others.

Faith is a tree, and works are it’s fruit. I’m saved because I believe in Christ as my Savior, but my maturity lies in how I live that faith out in my daily life – do I ignore the needs of the people around me, living selfishly in my own little bubble or do I reach out and help, encourage, and love them without an expectation of return as Christ instructed?

Do I demonstrate my faith through my actions, my behavior, my choices, my speech or do I pray and read the Bible only for brownie points and notches on my spiritual belt?

Yesappa,Thank You for your gift of grace given for all who believe and have faith. Help me grow strong in my faith in You and Your goodness and mercy. Help my faith in your be evident in the way I live my life and the things that I do to glorify You and honor those you’ve put in my life, be it for a moment or a season. In Jesus’ name. Amen.  

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, James, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Zephaniah; Psalm 74; II Corinthians 8

One of the most frequent arguments of man about God goes something like this, “If God rules over the day, the night, the light, and the sun; if He sets seasons and limits the oceans from covering all the land, how is it that He allows chaos and destruction in the world?” (Paraphrased, Psalm 74). A more personal, contemporary grudge with God begets questions like, “If God is a loving, caring God, then why did He allow this addiction, divorce, death of my loved one, bankruptcy, job loss, declined health… in my life?” Throughout history man has cried out to God, yet, I sense a subtle change in the way New Testament Christians are called to perceive the difficulties of life. I am reminded of Courtney’s September 22nd post quoting II Corinthians 6:3-5:

3We try to live in such a way that no one will ever be offended or kept back from finding the Lord by the way we act, so that no one can find fault with us and blame it on the Lord. 4 In fact, in everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure suffering and hardship and trouble of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, stayed awake through sleepless nights of watching, and gone without food. 6 We have proved ourselves to be what we claim by our wholesome lives and by our understanding of the Gospel and by our patience. We have been kind and truly loving and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Do you see the shift? It isn’t as though we are to stop asking God to intervene. There are too many Scriptures that challenge or command us to pray for self and others. The wild, uncontrollable impulse to question God’s goodness, His intentions, and His desire to deliver His “turtledove” from destruction is the difference I see in Paul’s discourse. There need be no doubt in an anno Domini son’s or daughter’s heart that God’s will is being accomplished in the lives of His children.

This is not to say that the children of Israel before Christ were not chastised for unbelief. Zephaniah warns that God will “…punish men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil,” (v 12). Only the foolish believed that God was uninvolved with His people and inactive.

Yet, today many still question God’s interaction with man. (Of course, I am not talking about nonbelievers who use this same argument to try discrediting God.) Focusing on the inequality in the world leads many to think that God neither blesses nor curses, and neither comes to the aid of or punishes His own. But do our circumstances evidence God’s apathy, or does complacency expose hearts fallen prey to life’s circumstances?

Maybe I just want an end to the questions. Then I remember that Jesus Christ put to rest all arguments when on the cross, He said, “It is finished!” What a relief! Like the Apostle Paul’s advice to the Corinthians, we must push on in our Christian walk, “doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;” [a month ago, a decade ago] (my words); but now you also must complete the doing of it; that is there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion of what you have.” Whether in giving good gifts to the saints as is intended in this Scripture or in living a sacrificial life, I pray,

Dear Lord Jesus, help us to walk in victory over our circumstances. Help us demonstrate our belief in the personal intervention of a risen Savior who proved unequivocally that God is involved in our lives. Help us to focus on becoming “kind and truly loving and filled with the Holy Spirit” so that others will see You in us. Thank You for hearts dependent on the grace and mercy You daily bestow!

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

2 Kings 22-23; Psalm 73; 2 Corinthians 5

23But I am always with you.

You have held my hand.

24You guide me with your advice.

And later you will receive me in honor.

25I have no one in heaven but you.

I want nothing on earth besides you.

26My mind and my body may become weak.

But God is my strength.

He is mine forever.

27Those who are far from God will die.

You destroy those who are unfaithful.

28But I am close to God, and that is good.

The Lord God is my protection.

I will tell all that you have done. Psalm 73:23-28

I’m going to be completely honest. I’m really struggling right now. My life is in a tough spot and the situation is less than ideal for our family. The physical and emotional toll that having our family separated and strewn across the world is frustrating and difficult for all of us.

On the surface, to the ones looking into the window of our life, the answers seem simple and no brainer. Without understanding the nuances of our circumstances, judgements are made, advice is given. The pressure of so many expectations and the stress of not living up to any of them has got me second guessing almost everything.

Except for God.

It doesn’t matter that I can’t see God with my natural eyes, I trust that He is there guiding my steps, holding me by the hand in the journey, in the ups and downs, in the struggle. He’s the still small voice that leads me in my walk, encouraging me to keep up the good fight no matter how difficult it is.

My mind and body feel weak, exhausted from not sleeping well for way too many nights in a row, having too much on my shoulders that drains the life out of me, and not experiencing enough moments of joy.

But God is my strength. He protects me. He provides for me, He gives me rest and peace.

The key is remembering, in the hard moments, to crawl up on His lap, nestle into His arms, and stay close to His heart.

Yesappa, I need a hug today. I need You extra close today. I need Your strength. I need Your love. I need Your grace. And, I need an extra measure of peace today. In Jesus’ name. Amen

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Filed under 2 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms